Shoulder pain with overhead movements

Pain in the shoulder when using the arm overhead such as in racket sports and swimming can be acute or chronic. Swelling can cause pain on overhead movements but frozen shoulder or a painful arc can also produce this pain. Pain when reaching or throwing can be due to a tear of the labrum (cartilage) or from damage to the ligaments, tendons, muscles or bones. A bursa can become impinged and inflamed on tasks overhead and cause a shooting or burning pain.

Shoulder pain with overhead movements can be affected by the sternoclavicular (SC) and acromioclavicular (AC) joints especially if swollen or damage as occurred. If there is laxity within the joint from minor subluxations this can produce overhead pain with a feeling of uncontrolled movement. Injuries with this symptom are listed below:
  • Rotator Cuff Tear

    Rotator Cuff Tear

    A rotator cuff strain is a tear to any of the four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder and is common in throwing and racket sports. They are so called because their job is to rotate the arm at the shoulder and provide a supportive cuff around the joint. Rotator cuff tears can range from mild to severe.

  • Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

    Shoulder Impingement

    Impingement syndrome is sometimes called swimmer’s shoulder or thrower’s shoulder and is caused by the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming impinged as they pass through the shoulder joint.

  • Glenoid Labrum Tear

    Glenoid Labrum Tear

    The glenoid labrum is a fibrous ring of tissue which attaches to the rim of the glenoid shallow hole or socket of the shoulder blade where the ball of the humerus  or arm bone sits.

  • AC Joint Separation

    AC Joint Separation

    An AC joint separation or AC joint sprain is an injury to the ligament that holds the acromioclavicular joint together at the top of the shoulder. It is usually caused by fall onto an outstretched arm.

  • Frozen Shoulder

    Frozen Shoulder

    Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for frozen shoulder which is a condition causing pain and restricted movement in the shoulder joint.

  • Shoulder Tendonitis

    Shoulder Tendonitis

    Shoulder Tendonitis or Tenosynovitis is a degenerative condition of any of the tendons surrounding the shoulder joint usually the rotator cuff tendons but can also occur in the biceps and triceps tendons.

  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendinopathy is a degenerative condition affecting of one or more of the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder.

  • Subacromial Bursitis

    Subacromial Bursitis

    Subacromial bursitis has similar symptoms to Supraspinatus tendinitis with shoulder pain over a 60 degree arc when the arm is lifted sideways.

  • Subscapularis Inflammation

    Subscapularis Inflammation

    The subscapularis is a very powerful muscle that rotates the arm inwards and is part of the rotator cuff group of muscles. It is often injured by throwers and can be stubborn to treat.

  • Pec Major Tendon Inflammation

    Pec Major - inflammation

    The Pectoralis Major tendon is weakest where it inserts into the arm or humerus bone and can become inflamed. It is common in racket players, rowers, swimmers, throwers and weight trainers.

  • Long Head of Biceps Rupture

    Long Head Biceps Rupture

    The biceps muscle splits into two tendons at the shoulder.The long tendon runs over the top of the humerus bone and can suffer a partial rupture causing pain at the front of the shoulder.

  • Supraspinatus Rupture

    Supraspinatus Rupture

    The supraspinatus muscle runs along the top of the shoulder blade and inserts at the top of the arm or humerus bone and is one of the four rotator cuff muscles.

  • Shoulder Pain

    Shoulder injuries can be either acute or chronic depending on when they are diagnosed and how long the pain / disability has been felt for. If you are not sure what your injury is why not check out our symptom checker! Or use the links below to view specific shoulder injuries. An acute shoulder injury occurs suddenly either through direct impact, over stretching a muscle, tendon or ligament, overusing a muscle or tendon or twisting of the shoulder joint. The top five most common categories of shoulder injury are listed below.